TUC encourages government backing of temps directive

The UK Government should use today’s meeting of the EU Council of Employment Ministers to strengthen its support for legislation protecting temporary agency workers, said the TUC.

The directive would give UK agency workers the right to the same treatment as permanently employed colleagues on issues including pay, working time and holidays, maternity rights and protection against discrimination.

Employer groups argue that an agency worker should not qualify for the rights under the directive until they have been in the same job for 12 months. However, the UK Government is currently calling for a six-month qualifying period.

The TUC believes agency workers should have equal pay and basic rights from their very first day in a job.

Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: “While this law is stuck in the EU log-jam, around 700,000 UK agency workers are being denied equal pay and basic rights. And agency work is becoming a less popular option as workers realise they are far better protected and paid in fixed-term, part-time, or full-time permanent employment.

“The UK economy needs the attractive, productive and rewarding agency work that the directive will deliver,” he added. “An injection of impetus from the UK Government is crucial.”

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